Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day!!

Hard to believe that a year ago today, we were anxiously waiting to meet Quinn for the first time in the Civil Affairs office in Taiyuan, China. 
Shanxii Civil Affairs office of Adoption

And we could hear her crying as they walked down the hall towards us, because she was afraid of the elevator that they rode up in.  And we were handed this little bundle of a girl that had about 4 layers of clothes on.  Luckily, she liked cheerios, so I became her friend rather quickly.

So we took our treasure back to the hotel so we could unwrap her and get to know each other.

And we discovered what a fearless, loving, tenacious, gentle, and wise soul this little one was.

And now a year later, I look back and am amazed at the adventure and how incredible this past year has been. 

We've watched Quinn bloom and grow into a spirited young lady who is very confident of her position in this family.


 She has added so much to our family, and we cannot imagine life now without her.

She is our Treasure, in every sense of the word.

Love you baby!!
Hugs and kisses xxoo
Mom and Dad

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quinn turns 3

I realize that it's boring to anyone other than the parents to view birthday pictures and hear about it ad nauseum, but since this is Quinn's first celebrated birthday with her family, it's a big deal, so here goes.

Yah- I think next year I'll celebrate WITHOUT the lip gloss, thankyouverymuch.

Thank you Grandma Lee for taking our picture

Playdough and shape block- academic tools, right?  I feel smarter already.

It says on the box 3 and up, right? 

Quinn...that's the washing machine- not a  place to put the babies.
Because she was just coming off of an allergic reaction to her sister's lip gloss AND we had just gotten home that weekend from Mpls and her Shriners appt, we kept the party low key and simple.
Pizza, cupcakes, a few gifts, and Grandma- perfect recipe for a calm and enjoyable birthday. 
Maybe next year we'll have 10 screaming 4 year olds attend, but for this year, we enjoyed just having her spend her birthday with us.  Yes, we are that kind of selfish. :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another crazy week~

As if December wasn't busy enough, this week was crazier than most.  

 First, last Thursday our foster children had their first visit with their mother in over 8 months. Could the State's attorney's office be more insensitive to plan something this emotionally traumatic during December, when most foster kids are already worked up from their feelings of missing their family.  So on top of the normal melt downs, now we get to ramp them up a  notch.  Yippee.

Last weekend was G's birthday, so we had his brothers over the a sleep over/party, and it went really well.  We enjoy those boys so much - Luke really connected with the older brother, and I was grateful to get through the weekend without any major meltdowns or drama.  J, their older sister, was upset that she had to share all the boys with the rest of us,  and she pouted most of the time they were here, but that's pretty par for the course with a 13 yo girl.

The best part was giving G a special birthday party!  He was very proud to have his brothers visit, and having his own cake and presents really made it fun for him.

After the busy weekend, we had to turn our sights on preparing for Quinn's clinical at Shriners Hospital in Mpls later that week.  Because of Loren's work schedule, Travis offered to drive me up there.  The thought of me driving through downtown Mpls looking for this hospital with a 2 yo in the back seat put me in a deep sweat, so I gratefully accepted his offer.  And boy, am I relieved that he drove, because I think his GPS even got a little confused at one point!
  The clinical went well, with recommendations on waiting to schedule surgery after she completes potty training.  At least now she is in the system, and the next visit will be for surgery to detether her spinal cord.  Thankfully, she is asymptomatic with now, meaning nothing is bothering her due to the tethering, so it's all good :-)
The side perk from the trip was getting to spend alot of quality time with big brother Travis, and he got to introduce Quinn to Chipotle cuisine.
3 days after she broke out from the lip gloss

So we whip home after 2 days in Minnesota just in time to catch up on the laundry and spend 4 hours at Sunday School practice for our Christmas program.  We managed to survive that, and I even remembered to bring the gifts for my students, so yah- 2 for 2.

All we have left is Quinn's birthday, and then I'll be able to relax and begin to enjoy Christmas.  So glad that I got all our Christmas shopping done in November ;-)


Kaylee and Bri

J wanted to be a stylish angel

pretty proud of himself



The Dangers of Lip Gloss

Thanks to a Secret Santa gift that Camille received at school, we had our first experience with cosmetic allergies.

Quinn got a hold of the lip gloss and decided to gloss over her whole face, all in the name of "Being Beautiful".  The next morning, she woke up to this:

This picture doesn't do her justice- it got much worse before it started getting better. 

Imagine the worst case of chicken pox you've ever seen.  That bad.  And it itched too, poor baby. 

She's been a trooper though, and does her best to not scratch at the scabs.  We are hoping for a quick recover and minimal scarring from the scabs. 

I've read of kids who have spina bifida often being allergic to latex, but I've never heard about cosmetic ingredients being a problem.  Live and learn!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The easy way or the hard way...

The other day I apologized to my hubby for always making life so hard...not taking the "easy road". 

Bless that man, he knew exactly what I meant.  And he just smiled.

When our friends are taking vacations...we're taking in foster kids.

When others are updating their homes or their vehicles, we continue to clunk along in our "vintage" cars (with the smashed in dash from a deer or two) and our worn out furniture, because we gave up our second income so that I could be home to raise our children. (And because we gave up trying to impress others a long time ago :-)

When we hit middle age and our peers were building their retirement funds, we were traveling to a little girl who was sitting in China, waiting for a family to call her own. (Bye bye, 401K...I will miss you)
When friends are eating out, we're staying home.

When others are shopping at Kohls and Macy's , I'm wandering through Once Upon a Child.

I know that our lives could be different and SO much easier.  Loren knows that too.  But when we evaluate our goals in life, they aren't the ones we had expected we would have at this age. 

We aren't planning on taking trips or playing golf when we retire.  Heck, at this rate, we won't be able to retire!  But we are working out God's plan for our life, and that doesn't include luxeries and wealth.  And apparently some week's it doesn't include free time either :-)    However, it does include incredible feelings of satisfaction, lots of joy, laughs, connection with the children in our lives, and the feeling that we're right where we are supposed to be. 

I don't remember exactly the quote, but it does something like this:  I would rather end my life used up and worn out, having given it my all, and have the Lord say "Well done, Good and Faithful servant" than to have lived a life of ease and selfishness.  ( you get the drift...)

That is why we do what we do, and why we make the choices that we make. 

It's not as if the sacrifices are extreme or miserable- we are very blessed! We are not hungry or cold or deprived of any real necessity. 

Do I care if I have new clothes?  No, not really. 

Can my pride handle driving an old car that isn't as nice as my neighbors?  Absolutely!!

Those items are not important to us anymore.  What's important is that we have been entrusted with these precious lives, to mold and guide, hug and play with, for as long as they are with us.  And we are humbled by the responsibility.